International Evidence on Obesity: The Interaction Between Legal Heritage and Motor Vehicle Dependence

37 Pages Posted: 25 May 2011

See all articles by Paul S. Carlin

Paul S. Carlin

Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) - Department of Economics

Mike Kidd

Deakin University - School of Accounting, Economics and Finance

Mehmet Ali Ulubasoglu

Deakin University - School of Accounting, Economics and Finance

Date Written: November 11, 2010

Abstract

We find a significant positive link between motor vehicle reliance and obesity in OECD countries. Surprisingly this association holds only for countries with a common law rather than a civil law heritage. These relations hold whether we examine trend data and simple correlations, or conduct cross-section or panel data regression analysis. An increase of 100 motor vehicles per thousand residents is associated with a six percentage point increase in obesity in common law countries with a much smaller and insignificant impact in civil law countries. Motor vehicle dependence is an important link in the growth of obesity in countries with a tradition of common law where individual liberty is encouraged; the link is statistically non-existent in countries with a civil law background where the rights of the individual tend to be circumscribed by the power of the state. This suggests that efforts to discourage the over-reliance on the automobile would have the greatest obesity reducing impact precisely in those countries where it is most difficult, in terms of legal heritage, to implement such measures.

Keywords: Obesity, Motor Vehicles, Common Law, OECD

JEL Classification: I12, K4, P5

Suggested Citation

Carlin, Paul S. and Kidd, Michael P. and Ulubasoglu, Mehmet Ali, International Evidence on Obesity: The Interaction Between Legal Heritage and Motor Vehicle Dependence (November 11, 2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1846919 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1846919

Paul S. Carlin (Contact Author)

Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) - Department of Economics ( email )

425 University Boulevard
Indianapolis, IN 46202-5140
Germany
317-274-4756 (Phone)
317-274 2347 (Fax)

Michael P. Kidd

Deakin University - School of Accounting, Economics and Finance ( email )

221 Burwood Highway
Burwood, Victoria 3215
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://www.deakin.edu.au/buslaw/aef/staff/stafffiles/kidd.php

Mehmet Ali Ulubasoglu

Deakin University - School of Accounting, Economics and Finance ( email )

Burwood, Victoria 3215
Australia
+61 3 9244 6592 (Phone)

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